Los Angeles didn’t get chosen as the location for the latest “Fast & Furious” movie, but it did land the spoof version of the popular car chasing franchise.
The actual “Fast & Furious 7" has been filming in Atlanta to tap into Georgia’s 30% tax credit, though some filming is expected to occur in L.A.
But “SuperFast,” a parody of Universal’s “Fast and Furious” films, began filming in Vernon, south of downtown, last week.
The independently produced movie comes from writer-directors Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, known for the “Scary Movie” films and for parodies of “Twilight” with their satiric “Vampires Suck” and the historical epic “300" with their comical “Meet the Spartans."
Unlike “Fast & Furious 7,” this film is not chock-full of stars like Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Kurt Russell. The actors who play the title roles are relative newcomers.
The original 2001 movie, “The Fast and the Furious,” was based on the street racing world of L.A. and was filmed throughout the county.
Subsequent movies, however, have mainly filmed outside of California — in Florida, Britain, Georgia, Japan and other locations, often to capitalize on tax breaks offered in those places.
The production of “SuperFast,” which is based out of a soundstage in Huntington Park, is scheduled to film for four weeks in the L.A. area.
Last week and this week, producers filmed at the Vernon Fire Department Training Center and used nearby streets for car racing scenes, according to a permit filed with FilmL.A. Inc.
“We’re trying to be somewhat under the radar,” said Peter Safran, the film’s producer.
Safran said the movie, which has a budget of less than $20 million, did not receive a California tax credit, which is awarded by lottery because of limited funds.
“We considered shooting elsewhere, but when we looked at the number of people we would have to transport and the look of the film we wanted and the stunts, it just made sense to do it here,” Safran said. “We really wanted to have the look and feel of Los Angeles and give it as much authenticity as possible."
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The filmmakers also had a good experience shooting locally on their other parody movies, including 2006’s “Date Movie” and 2007’s “Epic Movie,” as well as upcoming comedy “Best Night Ever,” which filmed in Van Nuys.
“A lot of the locations that we were looking for were easily accessible,” Safran said, adding that much of the film will shoot in the Huntington Park and Vernon area.
Two other high-profile movies that have recently begun filming locally are the Warner Bros. comedy “Horrible Bosses 2,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Chris Pine, and Fox’s “Gone Girl,” from director David Fincher and starring Oscar-winning director Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris.
On-location feature production rose 19% in the third quarter in the L.A. region, although the level was well below its peak in 1996 and was mostly for lower-budget movies. Most big studio features continue to be made in other states and countries.
Parody or not, “SuperFast” is a welcome addition to the dwindling crop of local movies, said Phil Sokoloski, spokesman for FilmL.A.
“So few features film in L.A. these days we need to hold on to whichever ones we can,” he said. “I would love to have both films shot here, but if the producers of ‘SuperFast’ see value in filming in L.A., we’re happy they’re here.”